native plants

750 Trees Find New Homes in the Mountains of Waianae

“Dozens of volunteers got down and dirty to plant roughly 750 trees on Oahu’s west side.” Credit: DLNR.

“Dozens of volunteers got down and dirty to plant roughly 750 trees on Oahu’s west side.” Credit: DLNR.

Important work being done by our partners from the Waianae Mountains Watershed Partnership and DLNR to reforest Waianae Kai State Forest Reserve, which will create a more resilient landscape and reduce the wildfire risk in the area. If you want to get involved with the planting events, you’re asked to contact coordinator Yumi Miyata at (808) 227-9545, or wmwpcoordinator@gmail.com.

From the Source:

“The Enterprise Urban Tree Initiative brings our employees together to volunteer in communities like Waianae that have been devastated by natural disasters, such as wildfires,” said Chris Sbarbaro, Enterprise Hawaii Vice President of External Affairs. “We support the Arbor Day Foundation and its partners in their efforts to build strong communities from the ground up and create a sustainable and inclusive future for all.”

The need to restore Oahu’s west side comes as a dry spell started to hit Nanakuli, and is likely to move toward Waianae during the normally hot and dry summer months.

“Unfortunately, wildfires have become more frequent in Waianae. The cycle of infrequent, heavy rain followed by dry, hot and windy weather creates the perfect conditions for fast-moving, intense fire. A recent fire in August 2018 burned more than 1,500 acres of the forest reserve, threatening native forests important for water recharge,” said Yumi Miyata, Waiʻanae Mountains Watershed Partnership Coordinator and Chair of Hawaii Association of Watershed Partnerships.

Restoration of Forest Key to Fire Control, Expert Says

Dr. Trauernicht gives background on the wildfire issue in Maui and across the state. Credit: The Maui News

Dr. Trauernicht gives background on the wildfire issue in Maui and across the state. Credit: The Maui News

Great article on the wildfire issue in Hawaii based on a recent talk by our close partner, Dr. Clay Trauernicht of University of Hawaii CTAHR Cooperative Extension / Pacific Fire Exchange. Also, important identification of the need for more funding for forest restoration and fire prevention by another close partner of ours, Chris Brosius, program manager of the West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership.

From the Source:

The causes of most fires are unknown. Out of 12,000 recorded incidents statewide from 2000 to 2011, only 882, or about 7 percent, had a determined cause. Of those, 72 percent were accidental, which also means they’re preventable, Trauernicht said at Wednesday’s meeting in the Pacific Whale Foundation’s classrooms in Maalaea. That’s why part of the solution is public education on the risks of fire and how to avoid sparking a fire.

That’s why it’s important to find ways to change the landscape to less sensitive and less flammable vegetation, he said. Statewide, non-native grasses and shrubland cover 25 percent of the total land; in Maui County, it’s 36 percent.

“Rather than trying to weed wack or spray to kill the grass, maybe you should think about a more permanent strategy, like planting trees to shade those grasses out,” Trauernicht said. “In other words, converting that vegetation to something that’s less likely to burn.”

“We can really only do two things,” Trauernicht explained. “We can target ignitions . . . and the only thing we have direct control over is the vegetation.”

“A lot of people think about jumping right into fuels management,” he said. “One of the big things is just having access and safer conditions and water for firefighters. So I think some of the more immediate things is ensuring they have the safest conditions.”

Four Acre Alan Davis Beach Fire in East Oahu Extinguished

“Firefighters working to put out a brush fire on Oahu’s east side.” Credit: Hawaii News Now

“Firefighters working to put out a brush fire on Oahu’s east side.” Credit: Hawaii News Now

The area of the fire is known for remnant native trees and plants that are a vibrant sight to see in Kaiwi. You can volunteer to be a part of the restoration efforts of this remarkable coastline here: http://kaiwicoast.org/volunteer.htm



From the Source:

Honolulu firefighters responded to a brush fire near Alan Davis Beach on Saturday.

Due to muddy off road conditions, crews were unable to access the fire with fire trucks.

“Personnel hiked in and initiated a ground fire attack in coordination with water drops from Air 1,” Fire Capt. Scot Seguirant said in a press release. “The Honolulu Police Department assisted with stopping beach goers from entering the burn area while they hiked to the beach from the lighthouse parking lot.”

Mauna Loa Road Closed To Cars Due To Very High Fire Danger

On December 13, volunteers remove koali ʻawa from Kīpukapuaulu (NSP Photo/Janice Wei)

On December 13, volunteers remove koali ʻawa from Kīpukapuaulu (NSP Photo/Janice Wei)

From the Source:

The gate near Kīpukapuaulu parking area has been closed, as Mauna Loa Road has been declared off limits to motorized vehicles until further notice, due to a very high fire danger.

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park officials on Monday said non-motorized day use such as hiking and bicycling will be permitted, and backcountry camping on Mauna Loa is still allowed with a permit.

Open fires, including charcoal cooking fires, are prohibited at the Kīpukapuaulu picnic area, and Kilauea Military Camp. Propane or gas cooking stoves are permitted, park officials say.

“The strong winds and dry weather over the past week has led to a rapid escalation of fire danger on Mauna Loa, and fire danger indexes have reached critical thresholds at the Mauna Loa weather station,” said Fire Management Officer Greg Funderburk.

The Naional Park Service says “hot components on motor vehicles have historically contributed to the increased risk of fire. By reducing the number of vehicles in high-risk areas, the park can mitigate the potential for a catastrophic event.”

Over the summer, a 3,739-acre wildfire on Mauna Loa threatened values park resources like the Kīpukakī and Kīpukapuaulu Special Ecological Areas, cultural heritage areas and rare forest habitat for endangered species. A coordinated effort managed to contain the blaze.

A Warming Planet Could Trigger More Intense Wildfire Season in Hawaii

Credit: National Park Service

Credit: National Park Service

Over the last several years, HWMO has prioritized adaptive measures such as Firewise Communities and strategic, cross-boundary vegetation management planning to ready areas for the rapidly changing conditions causing more and larger wildfires in Hawaii. The gravity of the situation is real with climate change, but there is so much we can do in our own communities to prepare for wildfires and other climate hazards. Learn how by visiting our Take Action page and the Wildfire Lookout! page.

Check out this excellent article with some of our close partners, including Dr. Clay Trauernicht and Michael Walker, who were interviewed and data that HWMO was instrumental in laying the groundwork for — the statewide wildfire history database we produced with our fire agency partners. Although sobering, it is great to see this data put to use for a better understanding of how climate change affects Hawaii locally.


From the Source:

In Hawaii, wildfires generally ignite during the dry season, typically between May and November, when it's hotter, drier and windier outside.

But models show that the drier leeward areas, where fires are more frequent, will see even less rainfall as a result of climate change, exacerbating drought conditions and expanding the length of Hawaii's dry season.

That means more favorable conditions for brush fires to ignite.

And non-native grasslands and shrubs — which cover nearly a fourth of Hawaii's total land area — are highly adapted to fire, meaning they thrive when they burn and come back really quickly, researchers say. And the drier it is, the harder it is for forests to recover in those spots.

Hotter days could spell longer-lasting brush fires, meaning more hours for firefighters and greater potential for damage to infrastructure.

And it's only going to get hotter. A regional NOAA report estimates that in Hawaii, temperatures are expected to rise by 4 to 5 degrees by 2085 — under a worst case emission scenario.

"If you have hotter days, the conditions that are going to promote your most active fires — like the hottest, windiest conditions — have the potential to last longer for hours within a span of a day," Trauernicht said, pointing to the Makaha fire that continued burning in the early evening, when temperatures are normally dropping and humidity levels usually go up.

Fire Is the One Hawaii Disaster We Can Avoid

The August 2018 wildfires in Waianae Valley. Credit: Clay Trauernicht

The August 2018 wildfires in Waianae Valley. Credit: Clay Trauernicht

An excellent article by Dr. Clay Trauernicht, wildland fire specialist of University of Hawaii CTAHR Cooperative Extension and Pacific Fire Exchange.

Not only does he explain why wildfires in Hawaii have burned 30,000 acres in August 2018, (more than double the annual average), but that it was predictable and there is much people can do to prevent wildfires. Dr. Trauernicht specifically sites the Wildfire LOOKOUT! tips for wildfire prevention.

To learn more about what you can do to protect your home and community from wildfire, visit HawaiiWildfire.org/lookout

From the Source:

Vegetation may be the most problematic issue facing fire management in Hawaii. Simply put, our communities and forests now exist amid an ocean of fire-prone grasslands and shrublands — about a million acres statewide. This is mostly a consequence of benign neglect as the value of real estate outweighs the value of maintaining production landscapes. Our agricultural and ranching footprint has declined by more than 60 percent across the state….

So what can we do about it? Awareness and education is the first step. Multiple state and county agencies and non-profits are working on this via the Hawaii Wildfire Lookout! Campaign, spearheaded by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization. Fire prevention education can reduce accidental fires. Homes can be “hardened” to reduce the risk of loss. Communities can become “firewise” and organize to take actions such as increasing access for firefighters and reducing hazardous fuels near homes.

Vegetation is in some sense the simplest issue to tackle because it is the only fire hazard we can directly manage.  Yet it is also the most challenging due to the scale of the problem — the million acres of grasslands and shrublands across the state. There are multiple solutions for reducing risk in these fuels: fuel breaks, targeted grazing, prescribed fire, the restoration of agricultural and native ecosystems. There are also regulatory measures that can help such as firewise building and development codes.

Check out this letter to the editor from a former Firewise Co-Chair for Launiupoko, Ms. Linda Jenkins, who talks about their Firewise outreach efforts as a pathway forward.

”We completed assessments and provided all our neighbors with tips on how to make their homes and properties fire wise. An extensive public education campaign was conducted and we received our Firewise certification. We circulated tips on how to build a home and lay out a property to reduce fire risk. We also circulated tips on how to make your existing property and already built home safer.

This was successful in that many people made simple changes to their properties. I was also on the board at Makila and we maintained the sides of the bike path to create a fire break and kept our grass verges green.”

Drought in West Hawaii Increases Risk of Wildfires Running Rampant Already

"North Kona, seen from the Highway 190 scenic lookout, is brown and dry from the ongoing drought." (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

"North Kona, seen from the Highway 190 scenic lookout, is brown and dry from the ongoing drought." (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Did you know 99 percent of wildfires in Hawaii are started by people? This West Hawaii Today article written by reporter Max Dible, explores the effects of drought on wildfire. 

Check out HawaiiWildfire.org/lookout for tips on what you can do to help protect your home and family from wildfire.

From the Source:

Tamara Hynd, program and operations assistant with the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, said wildfires have already burned through roughly 34,000 acres across the state, more than double the yearly average of 17,000 with more than four months of a dry year yet to go.

“Drought always plays a factor because the longer it goes on, the more intense it gets,” she said. “Your larger fuels begin to dry out more and more.”

Some advice she offered to mitigate risk is to avoid parking on dry grass because heat from exhaust systems can ignite it, or to keep heavy machinery like welding equipment and weed whackers away from dry areas, as such work can result in sparks that start fires.

Hynd said it was repair to heavy equipment that was the catalyst for the wildfire that ignited in Volcano earlier this month.

People who keep their grass short, their rain gutters free of debris and who have a water source and/or fire extinguisher on hand are also less likely to cause accidental wildfires, she said.

Recent Wildfires Burn Through State's Fire Response Budget

Makaha Valley fire that burned precious native forest. Credit: Dr. Clay Trauernicht

Makaha Valley fire that burned precious native forest. Credit: Dr. Clay Trauernicht

There is no question -- wildfire in Hawaii have extensive impacts on our natural resources from our native forests down to the coral reefs. And there is no question that fighting fires is expensive (and increasingly so everywhere including in Hawaii. Wildfire prevention and pre-fire management are proven to make a significant positive impact on the protection of communities and natural resources and are much more cost-effective than fighting fires. By supporting HWMO's work, you are also supporting our close partners from State Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the county fire departments, and all others who are tasked with putting it all out on the line to fight fires in Hawaii. With the very busy peak fire season erupting this last week, we hope you can consider making a contribution to HWMO to protect our communities, lands, and waters from wildfire. Mahalo!

From the Source:

Wildfires have burned roughly 30,000 acres statewide in the past week, gobbling up the state's limited resources for fire response efforts.

Among the casualties: The flames scorched some endangered native plants in the Makua Keaau Forest Reserve.

"Gouania vitifolia is a plant that has less than 50 individuals in the wild and a significant population was burned. Also, the state flower, hibiscus brackenridgei, we had a little place that was protected for them, managed for them and those burned up, too," said Marigold Zoll, the Division of Forestry and Wildlife's Oahu branch manager.

Less than six weeks into the new fiscal year, officials have already spent about a third of the DOFAW's budget for fire and emergency response, including the Kilauea eruption.

"Most of our fires are started by people, so if you see suspicious activities, please report it to the authorities," said Trauernicht. "Also beware, don't park in the tall grass, you can start fires from the catalytic converters under your car. "If you're barbecuing or having campfires, make sure you put them out."

Mauna Loa Brush Fire Doubled in Size Overnight to 1495 Acres

Firefighters battle the brush fire on Monday evening at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Credit: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Firefighters battle the brush fire on Monday evening at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Credit: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

From the Source:

The brush fire that originated at Keauhou Ranch on Hawaii island Sunday morning doubled to 1,495 acres overnight, according to National Park Service officials.

Exacerbated by dry, windy conditions, the fire is now mostly within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, and had consumed 1,250 acres of native forest on both sides of Mauna Loa Road by Tuesday morning. The blaze remains uncontained and is now less than a half-mile from the Kipuka Ki Special Ecological Area, which is home to threatened and endangered native plants and animals.

The fire — at the 4,500- to 4,800-foot elevation mark — is moving west towards Kapapala Ranch. No homes or structures are currently threatened, and it poses no threat to the Volcano community at this time.

Brush Fire in Kau Grows to 700 Acres

NASA FIRMS map  showing the satellite pickup of hotspots from the fire so far. Orange and red signify different satellites. 

NASA FIRMS map showing the satellite pickup of hotspots from the fire so far. Orange and red signify different satellites. 

A brushfire that started Sunday morning on Keauhou Ranch crossed Mauna Loa Road into Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and is moving west. National Park Service (NPS) firefighters and the County of Hawaii are working to control the blaze, now estimated to be around 700 acres.

The fire is moving west towards Kapāpala Ranch, and is not contained at this time. County of Hawaii fire personnel are also working to suppress the fire outside the park, which was reportedly sparked during repairs to a bulldozer. Firefighters from the Division of Forestry and Wildlife and volunteer firefighters from Volcano also responded.

Strong winds and dry conditions at the fire’s 4,800-foot elevation are making it a challenge to control. No homes or structures are currently at risk, but the fire has scorched native koa forest, which provides important habitat to endangered and endemic species like the Hawaiian hawk and Hawaiian bat.

Earth Day at PTA

“Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization's Pablo Beimler, right explains the effects of wildfires to Connections Public Charter School students Friday at Pohakuloa Training Area's Earth Day. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)”

“Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization's Pablo Beimler, right explains the effects of wildfires to Connections Public Charter School students Friday at Pohakuloa Training Area's Earth Day. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)”

From the Source:

All students from all schools, as well as the general public, were invited to the military training area for the opportunity to see how PTA cares for the multitude of resources within the 210-square-mile area, he said.

“We want to educate people on what we do take care of the resources,” he said.

According to Marquez, the Army’s contracted Natural and Cultural Resources Program has more than 40 staffers who monitor 26 threatened and endangered species and more than 1,200 cultural sites.

In addition to PTA’s stations, about a dozen local businesses and organizations — including Bike Works, Blue Planet Research, W.M. Keck Observatory and Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization — took part.

Integrating Traditional Ecological Knowledge and World Renewal Ceremonies into Fire Adaptation: An Indigenous Stewardship Model

"Shown in this image is a California-hazel-stem basket holding tanoak acorns that were collected from the 2015 Klamath River Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) burn area. Also shown is a Karuk woman’s “work” basket cap and an acorn cooking paddle made of Pacific maple. These are a few of the resources used by Karuk women to gather and prepare acorn soup. This burn reduced acorn pests, cleared out surface and ladder fuels to improved acorn gathering, and maintained the tanoak cavity at the base of this older tree. Cavities like this are important habitat for animals that hunt small game that eat acorns. "  Credit: Frank Lake, USDA Forest Service and Karuk Tribe.

"Shown in this image is a California-hazel-stem basket holding tanoak acorns that were collected from the 2015 Klamath River Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) burn area. Also shown is a Karuk woman’s “work” basket cap and an acorn cooking paddle made of Pacific maple. These are a few of the resources used by Karuk women to gather and prepare acorn soup. This burn reduced acorn pests, cleared out surface and ladder fuels to improved acorn gathering, and maintained the tanoak cavity at the base of this older tree. Cavities like this are important habitat for animals that hunt small game that eat acorns. "

Credit: Frank Lake, USDA Forest Service and Karuk Tribe.

In Hawaii, traditional ecological knowledge plays a critical role in the path forward towards more resilient and vibrant landscapes and communities. For example, restoring native dryland plants that are culturally significant along watersheds and even around your own home, helps to also reduce fire threats and impacts to our communities, lands, and waters. Hawaii is not alone in integrating traditional ecological knowledge with fire adaptation, there are many other great examples globally, including in the mainland U.S.:

From the Source: 

"The Karuk Tribe’s Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and belief systems are constructed and preserved in the form of stories, practices, performances and ongoing interactions with the natural world. Among such rituals include our World Renewal Ceremonies, which the Karuk Tribe has practiced since time immemorial. These ceremonies have been passed down for millennia, and are a key part of our local communities’ social fabric. They link human practices like fishing, hunting and gathering to responsibility. They also ceremonially align our culture with ecosystem process and function. In our worldview, cultural resources have a life, as do the people using them. Each life deserves consideration when planning projects, including fire adaptation projects."

Hawaii Island Firefighters Contain 1,600-Acre Kau Blaze

"This photo, taken in the Mark Twain subdivision, shows a fire that was reported near Waikapuna Bay." (Photo courtesy/Alan Gervasi)

"This photo, taken in the Mark Twain subdivision, shows a fire that was reported near Waikapuna Bay." (Photo courtesy/Alan Gervasi)

Even with terrain that was very difficult to access and unfavorable windy and dry conditions, firefighters were able to put out this large wildfire between Waikapuna Bay and Naalehu town in Kau. Mahalo to all of the first responders for their courage and persistence!

From the Source:

"Hawai‘i Island firefighters finally contained a large brush fire on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, that started on Thursday along the coastline between Waikapuna Bay and Na‘alehu town in the Ka‘ū District."

"The fire continued to burn through uneven terrain with variable fuel-vegetation mixtures.

The rugged terrain in the area enables only limited 4-by-4 vehicle access and air access.

The area is primarily cattle pasture, with some native trees and archeology."

From Forest Failure to Restoration Success in 20 Years

"The dark green patches of land are the result of a 20-year dryland forest restoration project on ʻUlupalakua Ranch lands in Auwahi, Maui." Credit - Dr. Art Medeiros

"The dark green patches of land are the result of a 20-year dryland forest restoration project on ʻUlupalakua Ranch lands in Auwahi, Maui." Credit - Dr. Art Medeiros

Collaboration and community volunteers play a crucial role in reviving Hawaii's disappearing native dryland forests, of which there are less than 3% left. We are inspired by all those involved in the Auwahi Forest Restoration Project. Restoring native forests means restoring our watersheds, which reduces wildfire and flood risk. 

From the Source:

“Why should people be concerned about dry forests? They’re identified as one of the world’s biological hotspots just for the number of species that occur there and nowhere else,” says Medeiros,”Culturally it’s really special too. It’s the last stronghold for many Hawaiian trees that were super important to the early Hawaiians.”

“If we lose the plants, to me, we use the colors and the perfumes and even the ability to make things out of the wood.”

Park Officials Seek Witnesses to Volcanoes National Park Campground Fire

Credit: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Credit: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

We have already lost much of our native forests for various reasons, wildfire being one of the major contributors. We cannot lose any more of them. 

“'With a hot and dry summer upon us, we’re definitely at an increased risk for fire in the park and across the island,' said Hawaii Volcanoes National Park fire management officer Greg Funderburk. 'It’s important to remember that while parts of the island might be getting rainfall, other areas are very dry and quite susceptible to fire.'

"Fire officials at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are seeking witnesses to a fire that burned about a quarter-acre of native koa and ohia forest behind a cabin at Namakanipaio Campground Tuesday afternoon."

"An investigation is underway. Witnesses and anyone with information about the fire are encouraged to call Park Dispatch at 808-985-6170. Callers may remain anonymous."

Hawaiian Birds Rapidly Colonize Young Restoration Forest

Hawai‘i ‘Elepaio. Credit: Kelly Jaenecke, USGS. Public domain.

Hawai‘i ‘Elepaio. Credit: Kelly Jaenecke, USGS. Public domain.

Restoring our forests has many positive outcomes, including bringing back rainwater to our parched landscapes and thus reducing wildfire risk. Native forests are also home to wildlife. We're excited to hear of the successful bird repopulation efforts of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge!

We will have an exciting silent auction item -- one of many -- at the Firefighter Chili Cook-Off on August 26 to go bird watching at Puʻu ʻOʻo. 

From the Source:

"Researchers used bird survey data collected over 26 years at the refuge to document how a diverse community of birds responded to the nearly 30 years of restoration efforts on the refuge. Their analysis revealed that most bird species increased in number throughout the restoration area, with the greatest increases detected in areas closest to intact forest where the density and diversity of understory shrubs was greatest."

"As temperatures rise with climate change, the area where the transmission of avian malaria is hindered by cooler temperatures will shrink, meaning the restoration of high-elevation forests may be one of the most important conservation tools to protect Hawaii’s native birds.

'We have a clearer picture of how we can facilitate expansion of particular bird species into reforestation areas by creating particular plant communities; this will help us ensure that Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge can continue to be a stronghold for Hawaiian forest birds,' said Kendall."

Brushfire Threatens Homes in Puna, Residents Evacuated Wednesday

Puna may be one of the rainiest areas on Hawaii Island, but that does not mean that brushfires cannot happen there. In fact, a brushfire on Wednesday, July 5, threatened 5 homes forcing residents to evacuate. Uluhe ferns are known to burn and carry fires quickly. Make sure to remove dead leaves from them and provide at least 10 feet of spacing above and around them if they are near your home. More tips in the Ready, Set, Go! Wildland Fire Action Guide.

From the Source:

"Firefighters arrived to find a fire spreading in vacant lots along Iolani Street spreading mauka and makai due to gusts of trade winds. Crews worked to protect five homes along Cook and Kapiolani Streets as area residents were evacuated.

Crews had a difficulty fighting the fire due to heavy smoke reducing visibility to zero at times. Firefighters encountered Uluhe Ferns, Ohia Trees and unstable a‘a lava terrain while fighting the blaze. Tanker units were brought in to supply water as Chopper One did an aeria survey. Traffic was detoured to Diamond Head Drive and Aloha Road during firefighting operations."

Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness in Kona Kicks Off Wildfire Season

Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness. Credit: Hawaii DLNR

Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness. Credit: Hawaii DLNR

We are excited to say that not only was HWMO's Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness a success on May 6, but it also received statewide media attention. One of the highlights of the event was the official launch of Wildfire Lookout!, a multi-partner coordinated statewide wildfire prevention and preparedness campaign. Mahalo to KHON2, KITV, and Big Island Video News for coverage of the event, and a very special mahalo to Department of Land and Natural Resources for documenting the day's proceedings and sharing with the media.

From the Sources:

"'In the end, all of us are impacted by wildfire. It’s just that some of those impacts are more invisible than others, so people aren’t quite as aware,' Elizabeth Pickett, executive director of the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, said.

Pickett says over 25-percent of the state has been invaded by non-native, fire-prone grasses and shrubs.

That percentage grows as fires consume native forests which are then taken over by those invasive species." - KHON2
 

"The importance of land and homeowners to be fire ready is the theme of National Community Wildfire Preparedness Day events and activities across the country today. At the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area on Hawai‘i Island’s west side, Elizabeth Pickett watched as several non-profit organizations set up booths and exhibits for the first-ever Beach Party for Wildfire Awareness. Pickett is the executive director of the Hawai‘i Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO), which with DLNR, and two dozen other State and federal government organizations and various non-profits are supporting the second year of a public and media awareness campaign: Wildfire LOOKOUT!

Pickett explained to people who dropped by the HWMO booth, that just because they may never have personally experienced a wildfire close to their home or property, that doesn’t mean they weren’t impacted. She explained, “Especially in our island environment the negative impacts of a wildfire in a specific location usually has detrimental impacts many miles away that can persist for years and even decades. You often hear people refer to 'mauka to makai,' and that effect pertains to wildfire. Once land is stripped of trees and vegetation it becomes much more prone to erosion and the introduction of invasive species and soot and sediment can wash from mountain forests to the sea where it can choke out life in coral reefs.'

Big Island State Representative Cindy Evans emphasized the need for everyone in Hawai‘i to become aware of these impacts and to do their part to prevent wildland fires. She’s seen first- hand the devastation and destruction, these often fast moving fires cause. Evans said, 'Even the loss of one home is one too many when you consider that with a little awareness, people truly can prevent wildland fires.'" - Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (picked up by Big Island Video News)

Wildfires Are Essential: The Forest Service Embraces a Tribal Tradition

"Rony Reed, a Karuk tribal member, participates in a burn at Bacon Flat in Orleans, California. Photo by Stormy Staats / Klamath Salmon Media Collaborativemaker."

"Rony Reed, a Karuk tribal member, participates in a burn at Bacon Flat in Orleans, California. Photo by Stormy Staats / Klamath Salmon Media Collaborativemaker."

This was a really interesting read that highlights Karuk and their use of community-based prescribed burning as part of a larger cultural and ecological renaissance and to change the narrative on certain misconceptions about their relationship to fire. The article also highlights how the merging of science and culture are essential, especially in the face of climate change.

From the Source:

"This marks the third year the Karuk have helped run and organize the community burning program, a joint venture between the tribe and several groups, including a local watershed council and the nonprofit Nature Conservancy, which uses the burn as part of its own national training program in controlled burning. For the Karuk, the program marks a historic turn from years of being labeled as arsonists for lighting the fires that belief says they are required to perform. It’s also a tribute to the fact that controlled or prescribed burning is becoming in vogue among scientific and resource management circles. The Karuk hope their young fire program will be the start of a sustainable, community-based effort leading to a cultural and ecological revival for the tribe."

'Good Neighbors' Help to Fight Fires in Remote Kahikinui Homestead

Excellent, in-depth article of the recent PFX Field Tour of Kahikinui, the community's history and past struggles with large wildfires, and the bright future ahead of them for their preparedness efforts. Mahalo to the Maui News for the great coverage and to Leeward Haleakala Watershed Partnership and Pacific Fire Exchange for coordinating the field tour.

From the Source:

"There have been some smaller meetings with the community and adjacent landowners in the past, but this was the first time so many people with such a broad range of experience and interest in collaboration came together that I'm aware of," said Andrea Buckman, coordinator for the Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership, who organized the event along with the Pacific Fire Exchange.

Kahikinui resident Ainoa Kaiaokamalie and others joined Pacific Fire Exchange, Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership, Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, and a variety of other stakeholders for the field tour. Photo Credit: The Maui News

Kahikinui resident Ainoa Kaiaokamalie and others joined Pacific Fire Exchange, Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership, Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, and a variety of other stakeholders for the field tour. Photo Credit: The Maui News

"In the meantime, grant funding is also an option for the community. One available program is the U.S. Forest Service Wildland Urban Interface grant, which provides funding for projects related to fire education, planning and prevention. Through this grant, the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization already has $5,000 for a fuel reduction project in Kahikinui that must be matched by cash or volunteer hours."

"Currently, Kahikinui is working to become a certified Firewise Community through the help of the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization. Pablo Beimler, the organization's community outreach coordinator, said that he expects Kahikinui to receive its certification by the end of the year. Being certified would help push Kahikinui higher on grant funding lists and could reduce insurance costs in the future, he said.

Trauernicht said that the prevention projects being considering 'are always cheaper in the long run' when compared to the costs of restoring forests, livestock fuel and homes."